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Trends in Organizational Behavior

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Trends in Organizational Behavior

MGT 331

September 27, 2004

Trends in organizational behavior have an impact on employees. Many factors in our daily lives can cause stress, but how does technology play a role in impacting stress? Does technology affect us positively or negatively? Is there anything unethical about technology and the way it is utilized in the workplace? This paper will reveal both the positive and negative impacts of technology on work-related stress and discover some influential ethical issues as well.

Organizations utilize various types of technology, from cell phones to personal computers and numerous types of technical software. In the article, "Workplace Depression Blamed on IT Stress", David Williamson states, "Technology designed to help people work efficiently is now forcing employees into a state of digital depression" (Williamson, 2003, pg.9). Technology has the ability to prevent a person from escaping reality.

In the fire service, firefighters and staff personnel utilize cell phones, pagers, radios, and e-mail. As such, are rarely unavailable and it is not uncommon to be interrupted during one's day off or vacation. While this inability to "escape" may cause stress, these same types of technology can assist in relieving stress. For those who travel, cell phones can provide a feeling of safety since help can be a phone call away when the car breaks down. For working parents, there is often comfort in knowing the children and family will always be able to have contact in cases of emergency.

Another technological factor that can generate stress is computers and the software that maintains them. Within the last year, several upgrades to the computer network and software systems have been implemented at my fire station. While these upgrades are have reduced some stressors caused by software errors, virus patches are continuously being pushed by IT professionals. As the workgroup manager for the department, I have been appointed this, as well as many tasks, to perform. The workload I have obtained can often cause a great deal of anxiety.

So, with all the technological advances, are their underlying ethical issues involved? Further exploration may reveal that there is a widespread use of the Internet among employees. Although there is business use of the Internet, the majority of the use is for personal reasons-accessing personal e-mail, planning a vacation, etc. This raises the question, "Is it ethical for employees to spend company time to pursue personal interests?" While it appears unethical, David Williamson notes that Euryn Williams, media consultant, advises "One of the worst things a company can do is to forbid employees to surf the web for

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